As you pass your final exams at school, you will probably be thinking about your future. There are so many options for what you can do, so why do so many sixth form and college students decide on university?
Going to university seems more popular than ever. UCAS has seen a A 10-year high in the number of appeals from school graduates for an undergraduate degree, with 320,000 sixth forms across the UK having applied so far. This is 14,000 more than in 2021 and 50,000 more than in 2019.
Here we look at why so many people choose higher education over employment or an apprenticeship, and how it can help set you on course for the rest of your life.
Find your career
When you first apply through UCAS, you will be told that university qualifications help further your career. As part of your degree, your tutors will have many years of experience within your subject and industry. This will give you more opportunities to learn and you may learn things you never expected.
Many university courses offer the opportunity to undertake an internship in the industry you wish to join. This internship, also called a sandwich year, lasts from half to a full academic year. This gives you the opportunity to experience working in the industry of your choice, and these can be full-time paid positions. Taking the placement year opportunity not only gives you an example of what the role is like in the industry, but also allows you to apply the knowledge gained on the course in a working environment.
In addition to placement years, universities have dedicated careers teams and services available all year round. These teams can discuss job applications, help with resume writing, and provide guidance on how to prepare for an interview. Employment services can also refer you to a variety of part-time and holiday positions that will help you earn an income and develop transferable skills for work after graduation.
Explore a new place and meet new people
Leaving home is not easy, but the thought of moving to a completely new place is exciting. Part of the university experience is packing up and going to study in a completely new city.
Whether you were targeted for something from the earliest stages of your college scouting or you chose somewhere during university clearing process, the opportunity to live and explore a new environment gives you a sense of independence and contributes to your personal growth.
Each city has its own social scenes and nightlife. Part of the fun of moving to a new area is learning about the hidden gems as well as some of the tourist spots. The best part is that just because you’re discovering something new doesn’t mean you can’t visit home every now and then. It will also give you a great nostalgic appreciation for where you grew up.
New cities also mean brand new opportunities. You’ll meet people you’ve never met before, and it can help you both professionally and personally. Networking is important at every stage of your life, and the connections you make at university can help you open up new opportunities for years to come.
University is a great opportunity to meet new friends and new people. You have the opportunity to meet people who are on the same course as you and in your accommodation, but what about making new friends with common interests?
Societies are a great way to mingle and make new friends, and your interests are at the center of discussion. Most universities will have a freshers fair where societies will have stalls and you can see what they have to offer in terms of activities, trips and meetings. They might even have a free gratuity!
Joining a society also gives you the opportunity to rise to an official position within it. Every society has a number of roles with a variety of jobs behind them, including planning events and activities involving members. Leadership roles in extracurriculars also look fantastic on your resume!
University offers a unique experience that allows you to discover who you are and perhaps what you want to do. Courses are taught by lecturers with years of experience in your industry, and many university courses offer the opportunity to gain experience of what it’s like to work in your chosen industry. This will give you more options for what life will be like after you graduate and help put your career on the right track. Being able to explore your own independence in a new city is also an exciting prospect, as well as making new friends and learning about relatable hobbies. Building these networks can also benefit you with opportunities down the road.
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